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Creative Americans: Portraits by Carl Van Vechten 1932-1964

Creative Americans: The Carl Van Vechten Photographs Collection at the Library of Congress consists of 1,395 photographs taken by American photographer Carl Van Vechten (1880-1964) between 1932 and 1964. The bulk of the collection consists of portrait photographs of celebrities, including many figures from the Harlem Renaissance. Portraits include those of Tallulah Bankhead, Salvador Dali, Truman Capote, Dizzy Gillespie, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Eartha Kitt, and Joe Louis. They are all available in medium or high resolution JPEG’s or uncompressed archival TIFF versions.
posted by ND¢ on Feb 17, 2006 - 10 comments

From the Diary of Adam Czerniakow on the Eve of the Deportation from the Warsaw Ghetto, 1942

"They are demanding that I kill the children of my people with my own hands"
On October 4, 1939, a few days after Warsaw's surrender to the Nazis, Adam Czerniaków was made head of the 24 member Judenrat, the Jewish Council (write "Czerniakow" in the linked page's search box) responsible for implementing German orders in the Jewish community (interactive map of the Warsaw ghetto). On July 22, 1942 -- Tisha B'Av, the "saddest day in Jewish history" -- the Judenrat received instructions that all Warsaw Jews were to be deported to the East (exceptions were to be made for Jews working in German factories, Jewish hospital staff, members of the Judenrat and their families, and members of the Jewish police force and their families. Czerniaków tried to convince the Germans at least not to deport the Jewish orphans). Czerniaków kept a diary from September 6, 1939, until the day of his death. It was published in 1979 in the English language as the "The Warsaw Diary of Adam Czerniaków: Prelude to Doom", edited by one of the most prominent Holocaust scholars, Raul Hilberg. More inside.
posted by matteo on Feb 17, 2006 - 23 comments

extrapolation and beyond

The Wiki History of the Universe in 200 Words or Less [via]
posted by moonbird on Feb 17, 2006 - 14 comments

Linus Anecdotes

"Oops. Now his master boot record started with 'ATDT' and the university modem pool phone number. I think he implemented permission checking the following day." Linus Torvald's former officemate shares his lighthearted recollections about the creation — and creator — of Linux.
posted by nakedcodemonkey on Feb 16, 2006 - 7 comments

The Forgotten War?

"The Korean Saving Private Ryan," or Tae Guk Gi: The Brotherhood of War (2004). Reviews. Plot synopsis (spoilers). Box Office: Over 20% of South Korea saw this film.
posted by bardic on Feb 16, 2006 - 34 comments

Irie Takako: Establishing Oneself and Entering the World

In the Twilight of Modernity and the Silent Film (.pdf) Irie Takako was the most popular actress in 1930s Japan: film scholar Tanaka Masasumi locates the turning point of Japanese modernity in 1933, the year Kenji Mizoguchi's The Water Magician was made, arguing that Irie's transformation from radiant embodiment of moga(modern girl, the Japanese version of the flapper)-hood to suffering beauty in a kimono (.pdf) epitomized modernism's (modanizumu) defeat by nationalism in 1930's Japan. (via Camera Obscura; more inside)
posted by matteo on Feb 15, 2006 - 5 comments

Brownlow's and Mollo's Nazi Britain

"The German invasion of Britain took place in July 1940, after the British retreat from Dunkirk". We see, documentary-style, members of the Wehrmacht trooping past Big Ben and St Paul's Cathedral, lounging in the parks, having their jackboots shined by old cockneys, and appreciatively visiting the shrine of that good German, Prince Albert, in Kensington Gardens. Kevin Brownlow and Andrew Mollo's film "It Happened Here", with its cast of hundreds (.pdf), imagines what a Nazi occupation might have been like — complete with underground resistance, civilian massacres, civil strife, torch-lit rallies, Jewish ghettos, and organized euthanasia. Shot on weekends, eight years in production, made for about $20,000 with nonactors and borrowed equipment and Stanley Kubrick's help, "It Happened Here" was originally envisioned by Brownlow as a sort of Hammer horror flick about a Nazi Britain. Thanks in part to Mollo's fanatical concern with historical accuracy, however, it became something else. The most remarkable thing about this account of everyday fascism is that it has no period footage. Brownlow's 1968 book about the film's production, "How It Happened Here", has recently been republished. More inside.
posted by matteo on Feb 12, 2006 - 16 comments

O Recondo Distractum

Recondo! In 1966, the MACV Recondo School was established to train Special Forces Units in long-range recon tactics and commando operations. Graduates were called "Recondos" and could infiltrate enemy-controlled territory for long periods of time without being resupplied. The school was well known enough to spawn a cheezy GI Joe character. Apparently you can easily infiltrate Hollywood as well with allegedly false Recondo credentials.
posted by Smedleyman on Feb 9, 2006 - 12 comments

Jean-Luc Godard's 'Histoire(s) du Cinéma'

The Man With The Magnétoscope.
"How marvelous to be able to look at what you cannot see... cinema, like Christianity, is not founded on historical truth. It supplies us with a story and says: Believe — believe come what may."
Jean Luc Godard's 'Histoire(s) du Cinéma' at UCLA.
posted by matteo on Feb 7, 2006 - 8 comments

Alas, a self-godwining thread

H1t3r pwnd UK, USA! A gunnery has been discovered, buried beneath a metre of iron-rich Normandy soil. It was likely part of a ruse on the part of the Axis forces: a fake gunnery was also built, less conspicuously, and it took the abuse. It was forgotten -- or the memory at least buried by the locals and those who fought there -- until recently. Now it appears to explain some puzzles about Bloody Omaha [pic].
posted by five fresh fish on Feb 7, 2006 - 49 comments

Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing

Motown history traded for Super Bowl parking. (mostly audio) The Motown Center in Detroit was torn down a few weeks ago and turned into Super Bowl parking. Although not the main recording studios, and long abandoned, it still contained many Motown documents and memorabilia, most of which were lost in the razing. Covered by local bloggers: dETROITfUNK (1, 2) , Detroit Blog (1, 2, 3, 4), and Kempa, plus local tv.
posted by caddis on Feb 6, 2006 - 45 comments

Wake Nicodemus

NIcodemus, Kansas is the only remaining western community established by African Americans after the Civil War. The promise of freedom and land in the state of John Brown. Though prosperous in the 1880's, it began to fade. Its post office closed in 1953. It is now home to only 27 residents, with an average age of 80, but the "Promise Land" has hope. Wake Nicodemus, wake.
posted by ozomatli on Feb 6, 2006 - 23 comments

Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine

Anomalies and Curiosities of Medicine (1896) (some images NSFW).
posted by feathermeat on Feb 5, 2006 - 13 comments

first photographs from israel

A photographic tour of the Holy Land 1831-1910
posted by dhruva on Feb 4, 2006 - 8 comments

Higgins, The House Painter

In the year 2525 if man is still alive, future generations will be able to consult this book or type a request into their DIY UNIT™ and reproduce the effect of wood or marble.
posted by tellurian on Feb 2, 2006 - 18 comments

It was raining the day mama picked me up from prison

So You Think You Hate Country Music? Then listen to this. The roots of American country music may surprise you. In this series of NPR programs, trace the gradual development of real country music through the first half of the 20th century. Learn how a woman's instrument of the late 1800s, the parlor guitar, became the the central symbol of country and rock; see how African-American musical forms like gospel and blues meshed with the development of country and early rock and influenced the traditional forms in turn; listen to German-Mexican hybrids of accordian style; find out why women had so many honky-tonk torch songs to sing in the late 40s. The series contains hours of content (narrative, interviews, music tracks), and a multitude of excellent links for deeper digging.
posted by Miko on Feb 2, 2006 - 111 comments

Human Junk

Engineering Perfect Americans Were your immigrant ancestors considered genetically predisposed to become criminals? Were your mixed-ethnic ancestors thought to be polluting the nation's 'germ-plasm'? The Image Archive on the American Eugenics Movement presents a well-put-together online exhibit/walkthrough of this disturbing vein in American history.
posted by Miko on Jan 31, 2006 - 7 comments

...plainly jinxed by whatever faith he cringes before ...

President Jonah --an essay/history lesson/bible lesson/etc by Gore Vidal. ...We have also come to a point in this dark age where there is not only no hero in view but no alternative road unblocked. We are trapped terribly in a now that few foresaw and even fewer can define ...
posted by amberglow on Jan 28, 2006 - 33 comments

Tales of Two Computing Departments

The exhaustive and extensively annotated Columbia University Computing History, from Brunsviga calculators to NORC to the IBM 7090 and beyond. Also, take the virtual tour of the Computer History Exhibits at Stanford's Gates Computer Science building, including stops at the Apollo Guidance Computer (DIY) and the mechanical calculators exhibit.
posted by milquetoast on Jan 25, 2006 - 5 comments

Textual Criticism and the Reliability of Scripture

Reconstructing Aunt Sally's Secret Recipe. Addressing the Retranslations Fallacy, a common misconception about how the Bible we read has been handed down to us. [via]
posted by brownpau on Jan 23, 2006 - 64 comments

Ruined Cities

Here are some pictures of ruined cities and a few sanctuaries. (3rd link is to geocities)
posted by Tullius on Jan 21, 2006 - 12 comments

The Return of Jerry Moses and the Jewish Migration to Shanghai

"Ala ZongGoNin! Ala YouTaNin!". Jerry Moses last walked on Gaoyang Road in 1947. It was called Chaoufoong Road then, and it was home to many of the 18,000 European Jewish refugees who had sought refuge from Nazi Germany in Shanghai's Hongkew District (today known as Hongkou) during the run-up to World War II. He casts his gaze at the lane, his brow loosens and he begins to nod. "This is it, this is it," he says softly. "I know this is it." One week into his first visit to Shanghai in almost 60 years, Moses has found his third home in an exile that lasted from 1941 to 1947. He strides into the space, his manner now much closer to that of the 12-year-old boy who had left than the 70-year-old man who has returned. More inside.
posted by matteo on Jan 19, 2006 - 13 comments

Clonycavan Styling Gel - 2000 years of cool or your money back!

Body, volume, style and shine with long-lasting power. Clonycavan Styling Gel, along with mummification in Irish peat, works together with your freshly disemboweled corpse to protect hair from the disruptive power of 2000 years of rigor-mortis.
posted by 0bvious on Jan 17, 2006 - 14 comments

Ambassador demolition

The Ambassador Hotel is no longer standing. Recorded here.
posted by tellurian on Jan 17, 2006 - 23 comments

~~~~==FLY NAVY==~~~~

Cruiser Scout WW2 veteran's account of fighting in the Guadalcanal campaign.
posted by Heywood Mogroot on Jan 17, 2006 - 11 comments

Hurricane Digital Memory Bank

Hurricane Digital Memory Bank A developing online resource for the collection and interpretation of photos, stories, maps, audio files, and other information related to the hurricanes of 2005. The project was created as a partnership between the University of New Orleans, the Smithsonian/American History and the Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, the same people who created the September 11 Digital Archive.
posted by Miko on Jan 16, 2006 - 3 comments

Historic theatrical and performing arts ephemera

Theatre History is the Theatre Museum of London's vast online collection of ephemera, containing more than 1500 objects that record the history of the performing arts in Britain since the 1600s. There's lots of goodies, but don't miss the goldmine of fabulous photos, posters, and prints.
posted by madamjujujive on Jan 15, 2006 - 5 comments

The SF quake

The Bancroft Library unveils a new 1906 San Francisco Earthquake site featuring a really cool clickable map that features photos from each section of town. Haight Street didn't look too bad, but just down the road, City Hall was leveled. The exhibit offers a guide to the event that look place nearly 100 years ago.
posted by mathowie on Jan 14, 2006 - 20 comments

oook, indeed

The past can be a fascinating place. An Anthropologist by training and finder of interesting things by avocation, Hugh Blackmer, began rescuing old photos from antique shops on Nova Scotia (the former Acadia) several decades ago. He's now posting them on-line for his Nova Scotia Faces project. He's using Flickr and experimenting with a wiki. He's finding some wonderful old moments.
posted by mmahaffie on Jan 12, 2006 - 16 comments

It's the Demography, Stupid

It's the demography, stupid: "The design flaw of the secular social-democratic state is that it requires a religious-society birth rate to sustain it. ... Which the smarter Islamists have figured out. They know they can never win on the battlefield, but they figure there’s an excellent chance they can drag things out until western civilization collapses in on itself and Islam inherits by default."
posted by shivohum on Jan 10, 2006 - 72 comments

National Center for Jewish Film

"One could go on, and one will -- praising (...) the National Center for Jewish Film for releasing all four of Edgar Ulmer's Yiddish films in restored editions. But the DVD player is beckoning, and I think it is time for me to get back to the couch".
The National Center for Jewish Film (NCJF) is a unique nonprofit motion picture archive, distributor and resource center housing the largest, most comprehensive collection of Jewish-theme film and video in the world. In their archives you can discover the works of Leo Fuchs, the "Yiddish Fred Astaire", restored gems (scroll down) like "Motl the Operator" and re-releases like "The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg". (More on Greenberg, the Jewish kid who challenged Babe Ruth’s homerun record here, more on the NCJF inside).
posted by matteo on Jan 9, 2006 - 9 comments

Refuting the Myth that Jesus Never Existed

Did Jesus Really Exist? Also some notes on the doubtful existence of Hannibal.
posted by brownpau on Jan 9, 2006 - 122 comments

Acts of sacred violence

What’s "Sacred" about Violence in Early America? Susan Juster discusses the "oversized colonial martyr complex" with its attendant paradox: "colonial martyrs were everywhere, religious violence... in short supply." She begins:
One of the most chilling images in early American history is the deliberate firing of Fort Mystic during the Pequot War of 1637. Five hundred Indian men, women, and children died that day, burned alive along with their homes and possessions by a vengeful Puritan militia intent on doing God’s will. "We must burn them!" the militia captain famously insisted to his troops on the eve of the massacre, in words that echo the classic early modern response to heretics. Just five months before, the Puritan minister at Salem had exhorted his congregation in strikingly similar terms to destroy a more familiar enemy, Satan; "We must burne him," John Wheelwright told his parishioners. Indians and devils may have been scarcely distinguishable to many a Puritan, but their rhetorical conflation in these two calls to arms raises a question: Was the burning of Fort Mystic a racial or a religious killing?
She avoids easy answers and makes some interesting connections. If you want to find out more about the Pequot War, there's good material in the History section of this site. (Main link via wood s lot.)
posted by languagehat on Jan 9, 2006 - 35 comments

New York Transit History: Slides and Commentary

New York transit history, slides and commentary Audio-visual presentations on various aspects of New York's transit history. I particularly liked the third one, 'Subway style - Design & Architecture in the New York City Subway.'
posted by carter on Jan 9, 2006 - 7 comments

'The search for the perfect suit continues...'

Space Suits
posted by anastasiav on Jan 9, 2006 - 18 comments

Historic manuscripts

Ancient Manuscripts from the Desert Libraries of Timbuktu.
Rolled Palm Leaf Manuscripts in Nepal.
Rome Reborn: The Vatican Library & Renaissance Culture.
Lots of beautiful images and fascinating information, courtesy of the wonderful plep.
posted by mediareport on Jan 7, 2006 - 12 comments

PictureAustralia

PictureAustralia lets you search across the image collections of a bunch of (mostly Australian, but a few international) cultural agencies. It's been running in various forms since 1998 and has just started accepting contributions through the Flickr groups PictureAustralia: Australia Day and PictureAustralia: People, Places and Events. [via Stuff v.3]
posted by d-no on Jan 6, 2006 - 4 comments

Zapruder Film

Stablized Zapruder Film of Kennedy Assassination (link to .mov) Clearer than you've ever seen before. Amazing and disturbing (from kottke).
posted by kdern on Jan 6, 2006 - 97 comments

Lipstadt: Let Irving Go.

[NewsFilter] Lipstadt: Let Irving Go. Infamous "historian" David Irving was arrested in mid-November in Austria for Holocaust denial, violating section 3g of the Verbotsgesetz [in german]. Deborah Lipstadt, whom Irving once sued for libel, argues, "I don't find these laws efficacious. I think they turn Holocaust denial into forbidden fruit, and make it more attractive to people who want to toy with the system or challenge the system." Perhaps Irving hasn't had time to update his dossier on Lipstadt -- who is, in turn, keeping up with events on her blog.
posted by milquetoast on Jan 4, 2006 - 74 comments

definitions of wickedness

10 Worst Americans? Hot on the heels of BBC's list of the 10 worst Britons of the past 1000 years, people are calling for nominations for the 10 worst Americans. (a nice? change from all the "best" lists floating around the end of each year)
posted by amberglow on Dec 30, 2005 - 209 comments

1896

1896. The presidential campaign in political cartoons and annotations. Including: Popocratic Witches; Goldbug variations; Bryan the Lion (a link in the Oz connection); the Populist Pandora; Resurrecting Secession; and so much more.
posted by OmieWise on Dec 29, 2005 - 6 comments

Don't let the sun set on you in this town

Sundown Towns: A Hidden Dimension of Racism in America, by James Loewen (author's site; Dallas Morning News; Washington Post; Dallas Historical Society; Washington City Paper; Wikipedia)
posted by LinusMines on Dec 28, 2005 - 79 comments

Historical letters to a Virginia doctor

I send you some of the urine I pass in the morning: A large, interesting, well-presented archive of notes and letters (includes facsimiles) written by ordinary Virginians in the early 19th century to a country doctor, William Carmichael of Fredericksburg. Also includes medical instruments and pharmaceuticals of the time, and browse a facsimile of the doctor's daybook. Carmichael also tended to the health of slaves.
posted by Rumple on Dec 23, 2005 - 11 comments

World Art

World Art Treasures :What is essential in my approach consists of not "letting the others profit," as is too often thought, but to PROFIT ALONG WITH OTHERS from the dual experience of my studies and travel, sharing the emotions of my discoveries and encounters, to maintain faith in this miracle that is life. J-E Berger .
posted by hortense on Dec 21, 2005 - 2 comments

Holy snails!

A rabbi, some snails, the color purple, and a 1,500 year old mystery. By puzzling through various sources, a group of researchers and religious scholars think they have found in the mollusk Murex trunculus the source of a purplish dye that was used in ancient Jewish ceremonies over a millennia and a half ago. Murex has been used for the last 3,600 years to make Imperial or Tyrian Purple, a key color in the ancient world. There are many other pigments with their own interesting stories as well.
posted by blahblahblah on Dec 20, 2005 - 15 comments

History repeats itself. (NYC transit strike)

Almost exactly 40 years ago, on New Year's Day 1966, 35,000 transit workers walked off the job in New York City, defying the 1947 Condon-Wadlin Act which forbade strikes by government employees. Mike Quill, the TWU's militant founder and president, 'Called an "irresponsible demagogue" and "lawless hooligan" by the press,' 'would not be daunted by politicians' pronouncements and editorial page attacks.' When served with a court order, "Mike Quill tore up the injunction in front of the television cameras." The strike led to the creation of the Taylor Law, which is now being used in attempt to crush the TWU Local 100 strike of today.
posted by Edible Energy on Dec 20, 2005 - 20 comments

A Potted History of Coffee

A potted history of coffee Oh, and some music - Dylan, Bach, Inkspots, Lightnin' Hopkins, Peggy Lee, Duke Ellington, White Stripes, etc.
posted by carter on Dec 20, 2005 - 14 comments

CivilWar@Smithsonian

"CivilWar@Smithsonian is produced by the National Portrait Gallery and is dedicated to examining the Civil War through the Smithsonian Institution's extensive and manifold collections." Winslow Homer's Civil War drawings, portraits of leaders, artifacts of soldiering, and, of course, Mathew Brady's portraits. Much more besides. Previous Winslow Homer thread.
posted by OmieWise on Dec 20, 2005 - 6 comments

Main Course or Colonel Kurtz?

Main Course or Colonel Kurtz? Michael was a Harvard graduate, but otherwise refused to follow in his father's footsteps. After graduating cum laude and serving a hitch in the army, he went to New Guinea as a member of the Harvard Peabody Museum expedition. As he explained it, "I have the desire to do something romantic and adventurous at a time when frontiers in the real sense of the word are disappearing." In 1961, Michael Rockefeller, fortunate son of the first order, disappeared while studying the Asmat people of New Guinea. Questions remain, however. Was he, indeed, eaten by the Asmat, who had a rumored history of cannibalism, or did he decide to go native? At least one documentary has explored this.
posted by John of Michigan on Dec 18, 2005 - 14 comments

noe .2. thynges, can be moare equalle.

"To avoide the tediouse repetition of these woordes: is equalle to: I will settle as I doe often in woorke use, a paire of paralleles, or gemowe lines of one lengthe: ======, bicause noe .2. thynges, can be moare equalle." Welsh mathematician Robert Recorde (1510–1558) invented the equals sign in his 1557 work The Whetstone of Witte, which also introduced "Zenzizenzizenzic", the eighth power of a number. Recorde had advocated the + and – symbols in his 1540 work The Grounde of Artes. He died in debtor's prison in 1558. Read, watch, or listen to a recent lecture that links the equals sign to developments in art, navigation, and astronomy. (Wikipedia)
posted by goatdog on Dec 16, 2005 - 14 comments

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